January 20, 2016 at 5:53 pm #39181
Upton – I’d like to communicate that you would like more time to review the file. Is this correct?
Board – yes
Girard – why would the board and the district each have their own attorney?
Upton – if I represent the district and the employee and I advised the school board about termination, that’s a conflict of interest.
Upton is the Board’s attorney
Not from the same firm for the lawyer for the district.
Upton – I choose if I will sit with the Board to prosecute or not
Langton – what if witnesses contradict the statements?
Upton – look at credibility. Usually people don’t remember things correctly, so you have to decide who has the better memory. If you don’t and the lawyers have not asked the right q’s, ask the board attorney to ask the questions you need.January 20, 2016 at 5:54 pm #39182
Correction * when witnesses contradict other witnesses * – MelanieJanuary 20, 2016 at 6:02 pm #39183
Upton – I like it when the Board members ask questions. Sometimes I’ve asked them to bring previous witnesses back. Sometimes these contradicting facts are not detrimental, but they help to see the credibility of the person.
Beaudry – shouldn’t there statements be vetted out in the investigation?
Upton – A good investigator will reconcile these. Like Jimmy was coming from 9th grade wing, but schedule seems like he would come from 8th grade wing.
Desrochers – never had opportunity to read a full investigative report
Upton – I think these are some really great points. I’ll make sure the lawyers in my firm at least know it so that you have the ability to read these reports ahead of time.
Ambrogi – Usually the union that wants to wait for the hearing
Upton – we always request to send the information the Thursday or Friday.
Langton – we haven’t really thought about taking the ten days to decide.
Upton – these grievance hearings are yours to determine how to conduct them how you want them.
GIrard – I would hope that we would get the information from both sides.
Upton – we have it all ready but usually the union waits longer to organize their part.
Girard – why is that?
Upton – usually their cases involve more character witnesses, and they have less staff and they take longer to put together. Normally, we are always prepared with minor exceptions. When the union finds out what we are doing then they have to adapt to that. The union doesn’t want the material to sit over the weekend and allow prejudgment to occur.January 20, 2016 at 6:02 pm #39184
Most of the union cases use testimonies and witnesses. Our cases use more documents which take less time to put together.January 20, 2016 at 6:06 pm #39185
Dismissal and grievance hearings:
Companion grievance claiming that the dismissal violates just cause under the applicable CBA. This would then go to an arbitrator (who is employee biased). If they haven’t brought this grievance, the only avenue would be to go to the higher court.
We make sure just cause exists
Bergeron – how does this relate to student conduct? I’m wondering about the waiting and if you are going to address it.
Upton – I will not address student conduct tonight. I can send you information. there was a training last night or a few days ago.January 20, 2016 at 6:09 pm #39186
JUST CAUSE INDICATORS (must meet all)
1 prior notice prohibited conduct or performance standard?
2 is the standard / policy reasonable?
3 reasonable investigation or inquiry?
4 Adequate evidence?
5 similar cases treated similarly?
6 Reasonable consequences?
7 Opportunity to improve?
Connors – what if extreme cases, would #7 matter? like a sexual assault case
Upton – 7 would not matter then because they could not improve. (something along these lines – Melanie)January 20, 2016 at 6:10 pm #39187
Beaudry – Number 7 has been a problemJanuary 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm #39188
Upton – Now giving example of teachers not following their lesson plans.
Tessier – what about 5?
Upton – You have to treat all the same. If one doesn’t follow lesson plans, make sure that they all are following them before you isolate one no matter how popular certain teachers are. We deal with this issue a lot, teachers not knowing how to develop and follow lesson plans. It’s a process to help them improve and try to make that attempt.January 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm #39189
Upton – the police just doesn’t share information with me.
AMbrogi – what’s our responsibility to allow criminal case suspects stay in the school district if we are supposed to look at them as innocent until proven guilty?
Upton – I think that we work independently from the police. We could terminate based on the evidence and the criminal case could be concluded later. All separate.
Beaudry – Do we still have the right to terminate if they plead out?
Upton – You operate separately. We had a case of a teacher giving wine to a minor, buying her a bra as well. The police couldn’t find enough evidence to prosecute, but we moved forward and terminated that teacher.
Want – what is our standard?
Upton – Beyond a reasonable doubt for police is 75% to 80%. You follow preponderance – 50% “more likely than not” is your standard. not absolute proofJanuary 20, 2016 at 6:22 pm #39190
Upton – Our police department has been really great to work with. So if it happens inside of Manchester.
Beaudry – if terminated by Board but they were found not guilty by police, can they come back and sue us for discrimination?
Upton – No. They have an appeal process to superior court or arbitration. Votes almost always taken in non-public session unless the employee wants it in public session.
Girard – Does it then become public?
Upton – no
Mayor – the employee is sent a letter (personal) with the votes of who voted what.
Upton – The role call in minutes but not in the decision. the letter does not indicate individuals who said what but the number who voted what. The employee could wave the privilege and release the information, but I cannot.
Beaudry – If the employee releases that personal information, can the administration defend itself?
Upton – yes
Want – what happens if it hits the paper that this board member voted this way?
Upton – IF that happened, that would open up the door to say that the person made the motion, but the vote was this and I could give no more information.January 20, 2016 at 6:32 pm #39192
Nonrenewal is different than termination.
A lot of people leave the district on a nonrenewal and they go on to other districts and are very successful. This does not mean they are not good teachers yet or in this forum, nontenured teachers. They go on to have good careers. This is at the end of the contract instead of saying (for termination) that end the contract early.
Beaudry – We’re not looking at every teacher to renew them. I want to give fair process to the employee.
Upton – Here’s the balance. A person getting nonrenwed does not have the same ill effects as a terminated teacher. They just say that they are not a good fit for this district.
Beaudry – I’m a process guy. If all processes are in place, and they are not in place, and they seek a nonrenewal to avoid the process.
—They are talking about what the board can do is listed in ED 303.1 —-
Upton – at the end of the day, it is the superintendent’s decision with nontenured teachers.
Connors – what is a nomination and an election?
Upton – Superintendent ask Board to hire a person is a nomination. Election is when you see list of new employees and you move it. All your hiring authority requires a nomination from the superintendent. Anytime a person is hired it comes to the Board for nomination and election.
Connors – We just changed rules – that we would interview people.
Upton – You can say you do not want the person they talk in nonpublic about it.
Connors – but we cannot say that we want the #2?
Upton – you can tell her but not direct her.
Want – If a teacher feels that they did not get all 3 of their evaluations, who should we direct them to? the union?
Upton – request that the superintendent should rethink her decision. At the end of the day, your problem is with the superintendent. Nothing in the law allows you to hire.
Beaudry – any teacher that has less than 5 years, they can go to the superintendent for a nonrenewal without the board.
Upton – if this is their first job, then yes.January 20, 2016 at 6:34 pm #39193
Upton – Everyone is renominated unless they are told otherwise.January 20, 2016 at 6:38 pm #39194
If you breach confidentiality, you can be sued. If you talk about a student in a matter that gives information – easily traceable to student that can cause liabilities under FERPA. They can bring a common law privacy action. Just don’t talk about personnel issues in public. There is no reason and all your doing is potentially exposing yourself for liabilities. you’re asking for trouble.
Bergeron – do you address board member conduct for a meeting?
Upton – usually that is the Chair’s decision.
Right to Know applies ot full board meetings and sub committee meetings. I believe you should do as much as you can in a public session as possible. Some things by law you have to do in non public session.January 20, 2016 at 6:39 pm #39195
They went into nonpublic. That’s it for me tonight. Thanks for reading!!
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